This summer we had the pleasure of hosting Clay, a new undergraduate research student from Prairie View A&M, through the Texas A&M Entomology REU program. Clay conducted a project investigating how plant water stress affects the preference and performance of fall armyworms. Working with his graduate student mentor, Natalie, Clay conducted oviposition preference experiments with female moths and measured the mass gain of caterpillars feeding on plants with different levels of water stress. He also learned how to measure plant water status using a Scholander pressure chamber. After a very successful summer of experiments, Clay presented his research at the Texas A&M REU student poster symposium and plans to attend the Entomological Society of America meeting in Vancouver this fall.
“Over the summer while interning in Dr. Helms lab I conducted my first research project of my collegiate career. The environment of her research lab was very welcoming and educational along with the fellow researchers I worked alongside. I never felt out of place or uncomfortable at any moment during my internship which made the experience extremely enjoyable. These factors made my internship and working on my project two times as memorable.” -Clay